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Old 10-19-2007, 09:52 PM   #15
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My first experience with computers and remote computing was back in the mid 1970's. Mt Dad was a project manager at GTE in Waltham, Massachusetts and brought home a dumb terminal with a built in printer (no monitor, everything was printed on a long roll of paper) and acoustic coupler modem. On the far end was an IBM 370-158. Dad taught me the basics of programming in FORTRAN, NASTRAN, and later APL.

My first home computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000 with a whopping 4K of RAM. Shortly thereafter, I bought a Radio Shack Color Computer. My brother and I bumped up the RAM to 64K and modified the floppy controller so that it would read both sides of a double sided 5 1/4" disk drive (but as two drives). I still have that computer, but the drives are long gone.

Fast forward a couple of years and I picked up an 8088 XT. The XT came with 2 floppy drioves and no hard disk. I can still remember laying out $350 for a Seagate 30MB RLL drive and controller card - man that hurt! A few months later built my first 386 based machine, a 40Mhz SX. In 1995, I put together a 486 DX-2 66 with 16MB of RAM and two, count 'em two 65MB hard drives, THAT was the cat's ass!

I've lost track of how many PC's I built since then, but my last 3 are still in use as servers here in the house.

BTW - the 16MB of RAM for that 486 was over $500 back then (4, 4MB SIMMs) OUCH!!!!!

Bob Fowler

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Old 10-19-2007, 10:04 PM   #16
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I don't envy the kids in my community college classes who take them so for granted because it's been a fun ride.

Then again, some things never change. Back in the early '80s when I was in actual college, we got some hand-me-down computers for our student newspaper and, if we didn't type a weird bell symbol at the very end of the story, it didn't transmit to the printing department downstairs. It just went away. How many times do you think we had to rewrite stories because we forgot about that bell?

And last night I had spent 2 hours drawing a floorplan for a client & went to insert symbols, starting with a toilet for the bathroom. I'll be danged if an error popped up, AutoCAD shut down immediately & the whole drawing went INTO the toilet. At least it's nowhere on MY computer anyway.

So aggravating. And then there's the whole GIGO problem. I am terrible at saving things to correct folders, they just get stored where I was last, so photos end up with documents & documents end up with the desktop icons. Kind of like how there are cookbooks in the bedroom & plants in the bathtub and, just yesterday, a phone in the fridge.

Of course I'm an elitist. Look around you.
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:18 PM   #17
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Kid, want a walk down memory lane? Go rent a copy of "All the President's Men" and look at the computer "terminals" in use at The Post in the mid '70's.


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Old 10-19-2007, 11:16 PM   #18
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well, i've always loved movies & TV shows since "War Games" at least, where someone sits in front of a computer in enemy territory & has 30 seconds to hack into it and there's always a green blinking "PASSWORD" blank on an otherwise black screen & somehow they break into it.

A) My computer never looked like that even in the DOS days.
B) I can't break into my OWN computer in 30 seconds.
C) My computer doesn't even boot up within 30 seconds.
Of course I'm an elitist. Look around you.
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Old 10-20-2007, 05:51 AM   #19
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I still have my original mid 80's mac - the one that looked like a toaster and came with 1/4 meg of ram- it came in a canvas backback. I remember having a very serious discussion whether anyone would actually need an entire meg of ram. We decided it was simply for the pretensious...

Today my mac has 4 gigs of ram.
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Old 10-20-2007, 06:50 AM   #20
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I remember getting on the 'net in the late 80's through Compuserve. Not much WWW activity, then, mostly email and newsgroups. Folks with and email addresses were looked down upon. Thus, my first real email address was! It was an alternative ISP based in San Fran, that you dialed into through Compuserve's dial up network.

My first computer was a TRS80 Model III with NO disk drives and 48K of memory. My first PC was an XT with an 8 mhz processor, 640K of memory and was eventually upgraded to a 10 MB hard drive. That's MB not GB for all you young'uns! I remember when one of the members of our radio club bought one of the first 386 machines. I think he paid something like $4000 for it. We were all in awe of this supercomputer Joe had bought.

Hard to believe I have a 4 GB USB drive in my pocket most of the time. Some of the IT folks at work use 8GB drives that carry whole computer HD images on them!
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Old 10-20-2007, 09:56 AM   #21
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1985. at work we were one of the few privledged companies with access to "the Internet" we only had email and ftp back then. at home with my Commodore VIC 20 ( I still have it) . late 80s. on a BBS.
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:18 AM   #22
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Yep, we also started off with TRS-80s ("trash 80") and TRS-DOS (written by a fledgling Bill Gates). At first we had the whopping 8K memory, but then added the "expansion interface" (increasing us to a 48K) and a whole string of external disk drives. We were writing dissertations on them when better machines came about (IBM, Apple), and folks were dumping TRS-80s like mad. We had a garbage can full of them in the garage, and we'd go rob them for extra parts (especially memory chips and power supplies) whenever we had problems. Otherwise, it was just a matter of cleaning the gold (and easily corroded) contacts every morning before starting up.

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Old 10-20-2007, 02:26 PM   #23
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I keep forgetting & calling my thumb drive a "zip drive" in AutoCAD class & the youngsters look at me blankly.

C'mon, it wasn't THAT long ago that a zip was the newest accessory!
Of course I'm an elitist. Look around you.
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Old 10-28-2007, 10:23 AM   #24
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About the time The Wall came down, I was manning a chair in a steel lined back room of a brick building behind a guarded chain link fence.

We'd send mail to IP addresses back then, and my organization had one of the lower class A addresses. Ah, what fun. I remember like it was nearly two decades ago the thrill of setting up our first name server... my first experience with anonymous FTP, remotely logging in to our remote operating locations and lot's of other stuff.

wot fun.
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Old 10-28-2007, 10:33 AM   #25
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I started working for IBM in the mid 70's as a Customer Engineer. I worked on everything from mainframe computers (360's) to card punch machines. My first "PC" was a VIC-20 and then a PCjr and then a PS2.


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Old 10-28-2007, 12:25 PM   #26
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I remember stepping to the plate at work and getting the first portable in our group. I was so proud of that Osborne, even if I had to toggle over to see the other half of the screen . It was a huge step up at the time from what we had - we were part of the ComputerLand franchises at the time and had started on Apple IIc's until the IBM PC came out. Man, that was a long time ago wasn't it? Scary.

Barry & Donna
Life is short - so is the door on a '51 Flying Cloud (ouch)
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Old 10-28-2007, 12:47 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by bobfowler
My first home computer was a Timex Sinclair 1000 with a whopping 4K of RAM.
How 'bout the Sinclair ZX81! Clive sold me my first one in about '81 or thereabouts... then onto the Radio Shack Model IV with a whopping 128k of RAM in two 64k switched banks! That, along with the TRS80 Model 100 got me through college. 'Course you should have seen the looks I got from my classmates with that Model 100 in the classroom. You'd thought I should have had a tinfoil hat!

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Old 10-28-2007, 01:02 PM   #28
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roger, i remember playing with that computer on the right after school in the lab in seventh grade? we used to play ZORK. i loved that game. no visuals, all text. really made you think and imagine. thanks for the memory!


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